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February 29, 2024

Accelerating Profitable Growth in Medical Practices

Mike Slusarz
Accelerating Profitable Growth in Medical Practices

According to a recent survey conducted by the American Medical Association, independent physician-owned family practices remain a significant part of the U.S. primary care delivery system landscape, with more than 80% of solo practices being privately owned.  

For solo and small primary practices, dental offices, or specialized practices like orthopedics – dedicating time to a strategic plan for accelerating growth and business development is pivotal for securing long-term success. 

In this blog, I’ll dive into three ways medical practices can drive growth, with a specific focus on primary care and dental practices, along with strategies for increasing referrals to specialists like orthopedics or ophthalmology through primary care networks.   


1. Adapt a Patient-Centric Approach to Care

Reducing patient attrition or patient turnover is one of the most important steps for any practice to grow profitably. Adopting a patient-centric approach enhances the overall experience, making your practice more convenient, accessible, and engaging for both current and potential patients. 

For primary care and dental practices, this means having a robust digital presence, featuring a user-friendly website, a patient portal, automated appointment reminders, and online scheduling with flexible options, like same-day or telehealth visits.    

Also, a patient-centric approach to growth requires utilizing online patient survey tools to collect feedback and develop a deeper understanding of how better to serve patients. This includes insights into your strengths and weaknesses, wait times, staff interaction and overall satisfaction. Analyzing your data will identify trends for improvement, opportunities to implement staff training, new communication protocols, or operational modifications which will allow you to establish realistic growth strategies.   


2. Establishing Collaborative Referral Networks

 For specialty groups like orthopedic, ophthalmology, and retina care practices an innovative way to accelerate patient volume is to connect with existing and new physician referral sources through a targeted physician outreach program designed to not only grow organic referrals from an existing base of physicians, but also to increase new patient acquisitions through a broader network of referral sources. 

The cornerstone of a physician outreach program lies in aligning with the practice’s current growth strategies and marketing efforts to increase new patient volume. This involves focusing on two key steps in program development:

  • Relationship management of your existing network of referrals by identifying gaps through third-party data sources. 
  • Referral growth through establishing new physician referral relationships. 


3. Diversify Your Marketing Channels

Today, many practices still rely on patient referrals and word of mouth as their primary source of new patients. While this method is still important for growth, expanding and investing in proven medical practice marketing strategies will reach new patients that are critical to the success of your growth plan. 

Developing a marketing plan often requires an up-front investment, which might be unavailable. However, there are alternative low cost options to drive growth with a high return on investment including, maximizing the value of your social media channels, consistent email marketing, regularly publishing informative content on your website, optimizing your online listings and directories, encouraging and increasing online patient reviews, hosting webinars, educational programs or other pop-up events in your local community and working with your local news sources. 

So, what’s difference between a booming practice with accelerated growth and one stuck in neutral? Most thriving practices attribute their success to seeing more patients, retaining by establishing strong relationships with existing patients, and developing a collaborative network of referrals.  

The nature of your growth strategy will depend on your specialty, but in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare market, medical practices must seek ways to accelerate profitable growth. 

Whether it’s primary care, dental, or specialized practices like orthopedics, or ophthalmology -implementing effective patient-centric strategies, referral networks and leveraging effective low-cost marketing tools are paramount for success.   


Next Steps

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Mike Slusarz
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Mike Slusarz is a seasoned healthcare marketing professional with 30+ years expertise in brand management, strategic planning, digital marketing, physician relations and corporate communications. As former VP of Marketing & Brand Strategy at Barnabas Health for 25+ years, leading the marketing operations for seven acute care hospitals, three cardiac surgery centers, four of NJ’s largest teaching hospitals and over 700 medical practices.

Mike’s leadership spans Cape Regional Health System, PRISM Vision Group, and the Marathon Group, his award-winning agency. A former President of the Health Care Planning & Marketing Society of New Jersey, he also teaches at Temple University.

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